Government is yet to gain a full picture of the scale of damage caused by heavy rains that wreaked havoc and caused flash floods in low-lying communities in Gokwe North district.
Heavy rains induced by Cyclone Chengeto have been pounding Gokwe North and Gokwe South districts in the northern parts of the Midlands Province during the past two weeks.
There were also reports that major rivers broke their banks, with communities along Ume River in Gokwe North district being the worst affected.
Property worth thousands of dollars, including stationery and building material was swept away at Mutimuri Primary School in Gokwe North’s Ward 9 under Chief Chireya.
Several schools and homes in the districts also collapsed while roads and bridges were destroyed.
The Department of Civil Protection in Gokwe North told Sunday Southern Eye that they are yet to get the scope of the damage, especially in communities in ward 9.
“Ward 9 which was the worst affected remains inaccessible as the roads are impassable,” said Gokwe North district development coordinator Martin Musakanda who also heads the Department of Civil Protection.
“We can’t ascertain the level of damage, especially to the infrastructure, but most roads and bridges in the area were destroyed.
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“We have moved villagers from Mutimuri to Kasa Banana, which is on higher ground.
“We have also arranged that lessons should continue at both Mutimuri primary and secondary schools at a new site which is on higher ground.
“These communities are on a flood plain and are susceptible to overflows, especially when the river breaks its banks.”
Scores of people in the area are said to be affected, but Musakanda said they were still to carry out an assessment.
“We went to other places for assessment and we have already started giving those communities relief aid,” he said.
“As of Mutimuri, we can’t at the moment, but using community leaders we have arranged for the relocation of 23 families to Kasa Banana.
“We are working with other departments to build classroom blocks for both primary and secondary schools at the new site which is on higher ground.”
“The building material is there, what is now left is for us to transport the items to the site, which we can’t because of the rains.”
Gokwe-Chireya MP Torerai Moyo said he was using part of the Constituency Development Fund money to build classroom blocks at Mutimuri.
“We have the money to build the school and once the situation normalises we are going to start building,” he said.
Moyo conceded that the heavy rains worsened the already collapsed road network in Gokwe North.
“We have a lot of work to do in the constituency; these heavy rains have destroyed the roads and bridges restricting people from travelling,” he said.
“We will make sure we pay attention to the road infrastructure through programmes such as the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme.”
A teacher in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity said most schools in Gokwe North have been recording a low turnout of learners during the past two weeks.
“We have not been teaching because most learners are not coming because of the rains,” she said.
“At some schools, classroom blocks collapsed while stationery was destroyed.
“Pupils who cross rivers are not coming because there are no bridges.”
She said a number of public transporters who used to ply the routes in the area have withdrawn their buses because the roads are impassable.
Gokwe North is one of the least developed districts in the country.